It’s the floundering company that won’t give up! We had all but written off the Swedish marque, SAAB, after its owner, National Electric Vehicle of Sweden (NEVS), found itself in a spot of financial distress about a year ago.
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But according to a SAAB unofficial blog, the automaker is very much alive and seemingly kicking, as it was revealed that five new NEVS SAAB’s are in development for a 2018 release. The SAAb Blog’s report appears legit as it is based on a presentation by NEVS’ president, Matthias Bergman, who spoke at Sweden’s largest automotive conference, Stora Bildagen, in Stockholm just last week.
Bergman revealed that the brand’s first EV Sedan – based on a SAAB 9-3, but greatly enhanced of course – will enter the Chinese and Swedish markets in 2017. The following year will see the addition of four more new models, which could include all-electric crossovers and a fastback.
But how is this broke company going to fund this new plan? Well, NEVS broke the news that it has signed a US$12 billion dollar deal with Panda New Energy, a Chinese leasing firm, to supply 150,000 units of EV’s based on the Saab 9-3 compact sedan. This delivery is due by the end of 2020, with an option for 100,000 more after that. It is an unprecedented number, as there are only 665,000 electric cars in the entire world as of end-2014, and only 83,000 of those are in China.
The new SAAB EV will sport a new chassis, with a body made in Sweden and shipped to China to be assembled. For the remaining 100,000 though, a company spokesperson said it would be largely made in China.